Celery is a popular vegetable that is used extensively in non-vegetarian dishes and in salads. However, what many may not know is that Celery offers excellent medicinal benefits for humans. To find out more about celery, continue reading.
What Is Celery?
Celery is a small plant which is botanically known as Apium graveolens and it belongs to the Umbelliferae family. Historically, apart from being used in food preparations celery was also used by the Romans to decorate their winner’s crown and by the Greeks to make wine during athletic games.
However, citizens of the Ancient Greece were the first to discover its medicinal values and started using the roots, leaves and seeds for curing many disorders during the 7th century. Around the same time the Chinese also started using this herb in their medicinal preparations. Celery was originally found in the Europe and in some Asian countries. Later, the herb was taken to the United States and now it grows in almost any terrain with humid climate.
How Does It Work?
Celery as a whole consists of the following components – Vitamin A (leaves), Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorous, sodium, amino acids, folic acid, Caffeic acid derivatives, Polyyne, plant hormones, flavonoids, Furocoumarins and essential oils.
Health Benefits Of Celery
Celery offers unlimited benefits for the human health, such as:
For Female Hormonal Issues
It is said that the herb can be used to adjust hormonal dysfunction in the female body that leads to the following problems – dysmenorrhea, menstrual discomfort, complex forms of acne, infertility and symptoms of menopause.
May Fight Cancer Cells
Recent clinical and scientific studies have established that celery contains atleast eight different types of cancer fighting components. A study by the Rutgers University also validates this claim. Celery contains acetylenics which has the power to stop tumor cells from spreading.Similarly, the herb also contains phonolic acid that prevents prostaglandins from encouraging tumor cell growth. Coumarin present in the herb is known for its powerful anti-oxidant properties that prevents free radicals from damaging cells and thereby, preventing colon & stomach cancer.
Lowers LDL Cholesterol
Many clinical studies have also shown that butyl phthalide contained in celery has the ability to reduce bad cholesterol levels in the body.A study conducted by University of Chicago also highlights the fact that eating just two stalks of celery per day can reduce the LDL levels by 7 points. Celery which is high in fiber also helps in increasing bile secretion in the body that helps in reducing cholesterol levels.
Celery has good balance of potassium and sodium that are known as fluid regulators. The herb has been used as a diuretic from the 7th century onwards and can stimulate urine production.
Another chemical present in celery known as polyacetylene has amazing anti-inflammatory effects that help the following disorders – rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, gout, asthma and bronchitis. This claim has been proved by a study published by the National Academy of Science in USA. Individuals suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis should take celery juice to enjoy the anti-inflammatory effect of the herb.
Lowers High Blood Pressure
Celery is included in the Chinese Medicine to reduce high blood pressure. Drinking a glass of celery juice every day for a week significantly reduces high blood pressure.Some say this is because celery has a compound called phtalides that relaxes and dilates arteries. An animal study conducted to test the BP lowering effect of celery also has shown positive results. In fact, many say that celery can be consumed even by those who have low blood pressure as it does not further lowers the BP.
Aids Weight Loss Regime
Celery juice contains lot of fiber which is filling by nature and reduces the urge to eat more. Celery by itself does not have any weight losing components but helps in weight loss as it has low calories and makes the stomach full. It is a fact that a cup of celery juice or 100 grams of celery has just 14 calories. Many drink celery juice with honey before a meal as it reduces the appetite and tastes good too.
Prevents & Eliminates Stones
Another benefit of celery is that it helps in preventing urinary and gall bladder stones, and also helps in breaking existing ones. It is said that celery based diet and celery juice stimulates the renal glands and help in eliminating toxins from the body.
Celery with its rich Vitamin C content helps in increasing the body immunity. Also, the herb has cicatrizing effect on the body and is good for wound healing. Since, the herb has high amounts of fiber it helps in the digestion process and acts as a natural laxative. Some even say that celery helps in the treatment of insomnia as it calms the nervous system due to its high magnesium content.
Another benefit of using celery is in reducing the blood sugar levels as some say the herb has hypoglycemic properties. Celery also acts as an expectorant and emollient which makes it work against bronchitis. Celery is the perfect tonic for athletes as it replaces electrolytes and rehydrates the body. Other benefits of celery include treating the following conditions – hysteria, anxiety, fatigue & cough, gout, gas or flatulence, low libido etc. In folk medicine, celery has been used to reduce the production of breast milk.
For reducing menstrual discomfort, a combination of celery seeds, anise and saffron can be taken (approximately 500 mg) three times a day during the first three days of the monthly cycle. For all other conditions taking celery juice (15 ml) three times per day is usually effective.
Side Effects Due To Overdose & Other Considerations
Celery usually is safe when taken in food amounts. In some cases, it may cause skin inflammation in sensitive people and those prone to allergic reactions. Celery in excess amount or for medicinal purpose should be avoided in pregnant women as it may lead to miscarriage. Also, those with existing kidney problems should avoid this herb. Similarly, celery should not be taken two weeks prior to a scheduled surgery.
Celery is known for its high dietary fiber content and is a popular low-calorie vegetable. Celery contains natural organic sodium or salt which can be consumed even by those with high BP.
It is said that while many vegetables lose their nutrients during cooking, celery holds up most of its nutrients. The medicinal parts of the herb include – green leaves, stems, seeds and the bulbous root. There are two types of celery available in the market – white and green, always choose the green ones with firm ribs.
Avoid celery with the following – Levothyroxine (drugs for low thyroid function), Lithium, Photosensitizing drugs and CNS depressants.